A new phenomena from these times of Level-4 Lockdown, is the “virtual tasting”, performed through a computer screen using new tech like Zoom, or via a Facebook live stream. I’ve embraced this – not just for the addict in me to get my weekly tasting fix, but because they’re really rather good! I’ve done four icons of NZ wine already – Yvonne Lorkin started the ball rolling with a WineFriend sesh, then Matt Dicey had a few Bannockburn words of wisdom. Steve Smith gave a great run down of his new CRU wines, but the gems so far have been the triple act from Valli wines weekly presentations.
Marketing magician Hollis pulls together winemakers (and story tellers) Jen Parr and Grant Taylor for an hour of ramblings through philosophy, technique, tastings and a dash of history. I’ve enjoyed these sessions immensely – I’m already looking forward to next weeks’ hour on their Waitaki productions.
Like the Valli operation – you have wines that an unmistakable sense of place – terroir-driven wines that taste of the place they were grown (Pinot with aromas of rosehip, thyme and tannins that nestle between a balsam and a black tea character) and yet are fresh, bright and sing of warm days, cool nights and the carefully crafted nuances of master winemakers – guiding the wine through to the bottle, with just the lightest touch – sparky, jazzy, and vibrant.
So with the pairing of Jen and Grant – it’s a masterstroke combination that leads to beautifully crafted, and more importantly, glorious tasting, wines.
Amongst the best in Central, and by association then in NZ – and to my mind certainly – the world? Some top producers overseas are now wondering how they can reinvent their generations-old wines to match this sprightly newcomer.
I already reviewed the rather special 2018 Valli Gibbston Pinot Noir this year – the review is just over a few pages, in here..
I’d recommend tuning in to the edition planned for next week. At the very least I’ll get to open the legendary Valli Waitaki Chardonnay – a wine that has mysteriously eluded one of NZ’s greatest Chardonnay fans (me) so far. I’ll see you there.